To support the free and open dissemination of research findings and information on alcoholism and alcohol-related problems. To encourage open access to peer-reviewed articles free for all to view.

For full versions of posted research articles readers are encouraged to email requests for "electronic reprints" (text file, PDF files, FAX copies) to the corresponding or lead author, who is highlighted in the posting.


Saturday, November 15, 2008

Some See Big Problem in Wisconsin Drinking

EDGERTON, Wis. — When a 15-year-old comes into Wile-e’s bar looking for a cold beer, the bartender, Mike Whaley, is happy to serve it up — as long as a parent is there to give permission.

“If they’re 15, 16, 17, it’s fine if they want to sit down and have a few beers,” said Mr. Whaley, who owns the tavern in this small town in southern Wisconsin.

While it might raise some eyebrows in most of America, it is perfectly legal in Wisconsin. Minors can drink alcohol in a bar or restaurant in Wisconsin if they are accompanied by a parent or legal guardian who gives consent. While there is no state law setting a minimum age, bartenders can use their discretion in deciding whom to serve.

When it comes to drinking, it seems, no state keeps pace with Wisconsin. This state, long famous for its breweries, has led the nation in binge drinking in every year since the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention began its surveys on the problem more than a decade ago. Binge drinking is defined as five drinks in a sitting for a man, four for a woman.
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Event - Alcohol advertising - the right measure?


17 November 2008


Responsible advertising

In 2005 the alcohol advertising rules were further strengthened to ensure alcohol ads do not: associate with or reflect youth culture; encourage irresponsible of dangerous behaviour; link alcohol with seduction or sexual success.

As the independent regulator, the ASA wants to avoid restricting responsible marketing, but we must ensure the rules, and our interpretation of those rules, are proportionate and relevant to public policy.

Increasing concern

Alcohol advertising has come under intense scrutiny in recent years, with increasing concern about the effects of alcohol on society. The advertising self-regulatory system has reacted to that concern by strengthening the already strict rules. But as alcohol-related problems continue to bite, there are calls from many quarters to tighten the rules even further, particularly from the Scottish Government.

The debate
Hosted by the Advertising Standards Authority’s Chairman, Lord (Chris) Smith, this event will provide the chance for stakeholders in the alcohol debate to discuss the effectiveness of the current regulation of alcohol advertising.

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Friday, November 14, 2008

A Guided Abstinence Experience to Illustrate Addiction Recovery Principles
Am J Pharm Educ. 2008 August 15; 72(4): 78.

To develop and implement an elective pharmacy course that included a guided abstinence experience to illustrate addiction recovery principles.

A 1-credit elective course to illustrate addiction recovery principles was developed and implemented. The course required students to give up a habit for 6 weeks that was causing them problems, meet weekly to discuss addiction recovery processes, and relate their experiences in a journal. Course grades were determined by class participation, submitted worksheets, and submission of the journal and a paper concerning their role as a pharmacist in dealing with those with addictions and in recovery. Pre- and posttests consisting of addiction case scenarios were used to assess students' application of course material.

Graded course elements, pretesting and posttesting, and student course evaluations indicated that course objectives were met. Over the past 15 years, student enrollment has grown from approximately 10% of pharmacy classes to approximately 50% (average 31 students).

A guided abstinence experience was an effective tool for teaching pharmacy students the concepts of addiction and recovery.

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Online resource "alcohol learning centre" launched

As part of the Department of Health's Alcohol Improvement Programme, a new online resource was launched last week at the Safe. Sensible. Social. conference in Nottingham.

The Alcohol Learning Centre "aims to provide online support and resources to commissioners, service managers and practitioners with a responsibility for, or an interest, in the prevention and treatment of alcohol misuse or alcohol-related ill health."

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PRESS RELEASE - Distilled Spirits Council Statement about Alaska Alcohol Mortality Study

WASHINGTON, Nov 14, 2008 /PRNewswire-USNewswire via COMTEX/ -- Attributable to Senior Vice President Frank Coleman

Repeated studies have shown that chronic alcohol abusers are unaffected by price. Furthermore, according to the Federal Dietary Guidelines, moderate consumers of alcohol have the lowest death rate of anyone in the population - including non-drinkers. It strains credulity that a tax hike like the 1983 Alaska one could have the effect the authors ascribe to it. Most important, what they fail to account for in their analysis is the enormous economic impact their high tax policy prescription would have on the rest of society.
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The Performance of Two Motivation Measures and Outcome after Alcohol Detoxification
Alcohol and Alcoholism Advance Access published online on November 13, 2008

The aims of this study were to investigate the performance of the treatment version of the Readiness to Change Questionnaire (RCQ[TV]) among individuals currently receiving alcohol detoxification and to develop a treatment version of the Treatment Readiness Tool (TReaT[TV]).

A modified nine-item version of the RCQ[TV] showed a good fit of the model (CFI = 0.95) and internal consistencies ranging between 0.49 and 0.91. Twelve months later, RCQ-Actors had an odds ratio of 1.95 (95% CI: 1.12–3.37) for being abstinent compared to Precontemplators/Contemplators. The development of the TReaT[TV] resulted in 15 items and 5 scales with a CFI of 0.97 and Cronbach's alphas ranging between 0.59 and 0.94. TReaT[TV] Precontemplators/Contemplators were less likely to utilize help than Maintainers (OR = 0.17, 95% CI: 0.06–0.45).

The psychometric properties were modest for the modified RCQ[TV] and good for the TReaT[TV]. Readiness to change and readiness to seek help should be assessed separately among treatment seekers.

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Protein Kinase C{delta} Regulates Ethanol Intoxication and Enhancement of GABA-Stimulated Tonic Current
The Journal of Neuroscience, November 12, 2008, 28(46):11890-11899

Ethanol alters the distribution and abundance of PKC{delta} in neural cell lines.

Here we investigated whether PKC{delta} also regulates behavioral responses to ethanol. PKC{delta}–/– mice showed reduced intoxication when administered ethanol and reduced ataxia when administered the nonselective GABAA receptor agonists pentobarbital and pregnanolone.

However, their response to flunitrazepam was not altered, suggesting that PKC{delta} regulates benzodiazepine-insensitive GABAA receptors, most of which contain {delta} subunits and mediate tonic inhibitory currents in neurons. Indeed, the distribution of PKC{delta} overlapped with GABAA {delta} subunits in thalamus and hippocampus, and ethanol failed to enhance tonic GABA currents in PKC{delta}–/– thalamic and hippocampal neurons.

Moreover, using an ATP analog-sensitive PKC{delta} mutant in mouse L(tk) fibroblasts that express {alpha}4β3{delta} GABAA receptors, we found that ethanol enhancement of GABA currents was PKC{delta}-dependent. Thus, PKC{delta} enhances ethanol intoxication partly through regulation of GABAA receptors that contain {delta} subunits and mediate tonic inhibitory currents.

These findings indicate that PKC{delta} contributes to a high level of behavioral response to ethanol, which is negatively associated with risk of developing an alcohol use disorder in humans.

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Nystagmus using video-oculography in psychiatric patients
European Archives of Oto-Rhino-Laryngology Online First November 11, 2008

To evaluate whether nystagmus has clinical significance in psychiatric patients who have functional and/or organic brain dysfunction.

We performed gaze, positional and positioning nystagmus tests on 227 patients with psychiatric diseases (144 men, 83 women, with an average age ± SD of 62.5 ± 14.0 years) in order to evaluate the frequency and characteristics of nystagmus. Patients were classified according to the underlying disease. Normal control subjects were 107 subjects (26 men, 81 women, with an average age ± SD of 35.6 ± 10.0 years).

Nystagmus was observed in 56 (24.7%) of 227 cases. Nystagmus was seen in 16 (59.3%) of 27 cases of alcoholism, 14 (22.2%) of 63 cases of organic psychiatric disorders, 25 (20.2%) of 124 cases of schizophrenia, 1 (20.0%) of 5 cases of excited mental retardation, 0 (0.0%) of 7 cases of mood disorders, 0 (0.0%) of 1 case of anxiety disorders and 1 (0.9%) of 107 subjects of normal control. There was a significant difference between psychiatric diseases and normal control.

These results indicate that nystagmus may also be a very important clinical finding not only in patients with neurological and neuro-otological diseases, but also in patients with psychiatric diseases.

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Thursday, November 13, 2008

SNP boost as study claims higher taxes mean fewer drink deaths

14 November 2008
PLANS to impose minimum prices on alcohol in Scotland received a boost yesterday after a study found higher taxes led to a reduction in drink-related deaths.

Researchers reviewed the impact of two tax increases on alcohol in Alaska on the number of deaths from alcohol-related diseases including liver disease, oral cancers and alcohol poisoning.
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Press Release - Binge drinkers to confront their alcohol-related criminal behaviour

13 November 2008

Binge drinkers arrested for alcohol related offences in nine police force areas across the country will be compelled to face up to the consequences of their drinking, Home Office Minister Alan Campbell announced today.

The Home Office is providing an additional £1 million to police and drug and alcohol teams for the roll-out of nine new alcohol arrest referral projects.

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Effects of Alcohol Tax Increases on Alcohol-Related Disease Mortality in Alaska: Time-Series Analyses from 1976 to 2004

We evaluated the effects of tax increases on alcoholic beverages in 1983 and 2002 on alcohol-related disease mortality in Alaska.We used a quasi-experimental design with quarterly measures of mortality from 1976 though 2004, and we included other states for comparison. Our statistical approach combined an auto regressive integrated moving average model with structural parameters in interrupted time-series models.

We observed statistically significant reductions in the numbers and rates of deaths caused by alcohol-related disease beginning immediately after the 1983 and 2002 alcohol tax increases in Alaska. In terms of effect size, the reductions were –29% (Cohen’s d=–0.57) and –11% (Cohen’s d=–0.52) for the 2 tax increases. Statistical tests of temporary-effect models versus long-term effect models showed little dissipation of the effect over time.

Increases in alcohol excise tax rates were associated with immediate and sustained reductions in alcohol-related disease mortality in Alaska. Reductions in mortality occurred after 2 tax increases almost 20 years apart. Taxing alcoholic beverages is an effective public health strategy for reducing the burden of alcohol-related disease.

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PM's scare tactics to win battle of bottle
Louise Hall

November 14, 2008

THE Rudd Government's $20 million anti-binge drinking advertising campaign will hit television screens on November 23, nine months after it was announced as the centrepiece of a national strategy to tackle the alcohol "epidemic".

Called "Don't turn a night out into a nightmare", the series of confronting advertisements aims to warn young drinkers that getting drunk can lead to outcomes such as pub brawls, brain damage, mental illness, serious injuries in car accidents and even death.

The Prime Minister, Kevin Rudd, launched the $53 million national binge drinking strategy in March, saying he wanted to "scare the living daylights" out of teenagers, using the type of scare tactics seen previously on smoking, speeding motorists and AIDS advertisements.

But the campaign has been delayed for months because of the introduction of new guidelines on government advertising.

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Yesterday in parliament - Drinking habits of service personnel, Thursday November 13 2008

Two-thirds of servicemen and nearly half of servicewomen are drinking alcohol at levels "deemed hazardous to health," junior defence minister Kevan Jones disclosed. He added that hazardous drinking was most associated with the young, single and lower ranks. Programmes were in place to promote sensible drinking.

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New alcohol measures go to parliament today
13th November 2008,

Tough new laws to combat alcohol-related violence will be introduced to NSW parliament today.

The measures, announced by NSW Premier Nathan Rees last month, include a freeze on 24-hour licences and a limit of 18 hours on new licences.

Patrons of pubs and clubs identified as hot spots for violence face a 2am lockout, a limit on the number of drinks they can buy and the use of plastic cups after midnight.

Shots will be banned after midnight and serving will stop 30 minutes before closing time.

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Wednesday, November 12, 2008

Serotonin Depletion Impairs Waiting but not Stop-Signal Reaction Time in Rats: Implications for Theories of the Role of 5-HT in Behavioral Inhibition Neuropsychopharmacology advance online publication 12 November 2008

Central serotonin (5-HT) function is thought to be a critical component of behavioral inhibition and impulse control. However, in recent clinical studies, 5-HT manipulations failed to affect stop-signal reaction time (SSRT), which is a fundamental process in behavioral inhibition.

We investigated the effect of central 5-HT depletion (intracerebroventricular 5,7-dihydroxytryptamine) in rats on two aspects of behavioral inhibition, SSRT and 'waiting', using the stop-signal task.

5-HT depletion had no effects on SSRT or any other primary measure on the stop-signal task. However, within the same task, there was a deficit in 'waiting' in 5-HT-depleted rats when they were required to withhold from responding in the terminal element of the stop-signal task for an extended period. D-Amphetamine had dose-dependent, but not 5-HT-dependent effects on SSRT. Conversely, the dose that tended to improve, or decrease, SSRT (0.3 mg/kg) impaired the ability to wait, again independently of 5-HT manipulation.

These findings suggest that SSRT and 'waiting' are distinct measures of behavioral inhibition, and show that 5-HT is critical for some forms of behavioral inhibition but not others. This has significant implications for the treatment of conditions such as attention deficit and hyperactivity disorder, substance abuse, and affective disorders, in which inhibitory and impulse-control deficits are common.

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Effects of Verapamil, an Antagonist of L-Type Calcium Channels, on Cardiovascular Symptoms in Alcohol Withdrawal
Neuropsychobiology 2008;58:123-127

We studied whether verapamil, a Ca2+ channel blocker, affects cardiovascular symptoms in alcohol withdrawal.

Significant differences in verapamil effects on systolic and diastolic blood pressure and stroke volume and total peripheral resistance were observed in patients with withdrawal when compared with those in early recovery.

L-type Ca2+ channels may modify vascular tone in alcohol withdrawal.

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Coalition Intends to Fight Alcohol Abuse in Wisconsin
By Marge Pitrof
November 12, 2008 | WUWM | Milwaukee, WI

A concerted effort is getting underway in Wisconsin to fight alcohol abuse. The University of Wisconsin Hospital and Clinics in Madison is helping spearhead the initiative. It went public with its intentions Tuesday and is now searching for organizations and individuals interested in joining the fight. Here’s more from WUWM’s Marge Pitrof.
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Ramadoss plans national policy to curb sale of alcohol

13 Nov 2008, Mahendra Kumar Singh, TNN

NEW DELHI: After banning smoking in public places, health minister Anbumani Ramadoss is planning a campaign against alcohol by bringing in a national policy to regulate its sale in the country.

Ramadoss, however, said that a blanket ban on liquor like tobacco would not be possible as it was a state subject so the policy would largely be recommendatory in nature.

Sources in the health ministry said the framework of the liquor policy would deal with issues such as pricing of alcoholic products, regulating the number of shops selling liquor, fixing their working hours and strict implementation of not selling alcohol to minors.

"The detailed outline of the policy on liquor will take some time and is likely to be completed in around six months," Ramadoss told TOI, adding that the ministry had been seeking suggestions from experts and scientists on the policy over the past month.

The emphasis of the national policy, which will not be mandatory for states to follow, will highlight alcohol's ill-effects on health and focus on running awareness campaigns.

The ministry is looking at preliminary studies on alcohol and its effects. There will be workshops and awareness campaigns that state governments will have to conduct at the grassroots level, Ramadoss said.
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NHS spending on anti-alcoholism drugs doubles in a decade

By Kate Devlin Medical Correspondent
12 Nov 2008

The NHS is spending twice as much on drugs to treat alcoholism as a decade ago, official figures show.

The National Health Service now spends just under £2.25 million on the medication, up from £1.08 million in 1998.

The figures were revealed in a parliamentary answer to James Brokenshire, the Tory MP for Hornchurch.

Most of the money has been spent on two drugs, Antabuse and Campral.

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This report provides recommendations that include specific actionable strategies for the campus community. More importantly, the CPAA recommends that the College adopt an overarching “environmental management approach” (DeJong et al, 1998) that will guide the decisions of the administration, faculty, and staff as we collaboratively create a health-promoting normative environment that is conducive to our students’ development of healthy beliefs about, and attachment to, our campus community.





Executive Summary

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Russia to form federal alcohol regulator - first deputy PM

MOSCOW, November 12 (RIA Novosti) - The Russian government plans to establish a federal alcohol regulator and set minimum wholesale and retail prices for products, a first deputy prime minister said on Wednesday.

Viktor Zubkov said the move was aimed at "stabilizing the market," adding that he had instructed the departments concerned to draft a presidential decree within the next three days for submission to the government

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Alcohol industry and government revenue derived from underage drinking by Australian adolescents 2005
Addictive Behaviors Volume 34, Issue 1, January 2009, Pages 75-81

The purpose of this study was to estimate the revenue gained from consumption of alcohol by adolescents for each beverage type for the year 2005.

Over 506,000 adolescents aged between 12 and 17 years (29% of all Australian adolescents) consumed approximately 175.69 million standard drinks in 2005. The total revenue generated by the consumption of these beverages was estimated to be $218 million, of which the government received approximately $107 million or 49% in taxation revenue. Total revenue per underage drinker is estimated at $430.84 with revenue increasing with age. Males tend to spend more on spirits and beer while females spend more on pre-mixed spirits. Females aged 12–15 years spend around $121 per year (or 50% of total expenditure) on pre-mixed spirits compared to females aged 16–17 years old that spend around $257 per year (or 62% of total expenditure) on pre-mixed spirits.

The Australian government and the alcohol industry receive substantial financial benefit from the sale of alcoholic beverages to under age drinkers.

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Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Alcohol demand and risk preference
Journal of Economic Psychology Article in Press, 7 April 2008

Both economists and psychologists have studied the concept of risk preference. Economists categorize individuals as more or less risk-tolerant based on the marginal utility of income.

Psychologists categorize individuals’ propensity towards risk based on harm avoidance, novelty seeking and reward dependence traits. The two concepts of risk are related, although the instruments used for empirical measurement are quite different. Psychologists have found risk preference to be an important determinant of alcohol consumption; however economists have not included risk preference in studies of alcohol demand.

This is the first study to examine the effect of risk preference on alcohol consumption in the context of a demand function. The specifications employ multiple waves from the Panel Study of Income Dynamics (PSID) and the Health and Retirement Study (HRS), which permit the estimation of age-specific models based on nationally representative samples. Both of these data sets include a unique and consistent survey instrument designed to directly measure risk preference in accordance with the economist’s definition.

This study estimates the direct impact of risk preference on alcohol demand and also explores how risk preference affects the price elasticity of demand.

The empirical results indicate that risk preference has a significant negative effect on alcohol consumption, with the prevalence and consumption among risk-tolerant individuals being 6–8% higher. Furthermore, the tax elasticity is similar across both risk-averse and risk-tolerant individuals.

This suggests that tax policies are as equally effective in deterring alcohol consumption among those who have a higher versus a lower propensity for alcohol use.

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SENEGAL: "Worrying” rise in alcohol abuse

DAKAR, 11 November 2008 (IRIN) - Alcohol abuse in Senegal has reached “massive” levels but most addicts are not receiving the help they need, according to experts.

“Over the last five years I have seen consumption grow and grow," said Abdoulaye Diouf, head of the Jacques Chirac drug information and awareness centre in the capital Dakar. "More and more people drink [to excess]’s very worrying.”

The trend reflects a global phenomenon. The World Health Organization’s (WHO) 2008 Global Burden of Disease study shows that in both low- and high-income countries the harmful use of alcohol is now among the 10 leading causes of disability.
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Reducing alcohol harm
International benchmark

By: Lila Rabinovich, Jan Tiessen, Barbara Janta, Annalijn Conklin, Joachim Krapels, Christian van Stolk

The National Audit Office (NAO) is undertaking a value for money (VfM) study to examine alcohol-harm prevention and treatment services that are supported by the Department of Health and the NHS in England, focusing specifically on NHS services for alcohol misusers.

To supplement the evidence from England, the NAO has commissioned an international benchmark with the aim of providing lessons from international policy and practice which may be transferrable to England.

Five countries, broadly comparable to England in terms of alcohol trends and other socioeconomic indicators, have been examined for this project: Australia, Canada, Germany, the Netherlands and the United States.

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Editorial - Booze blues

The Guardian, Tuesday November 11 2008

In A Hero of Our Time, Lermontov's classic novel from 1841, a Russian captain asks: "It was the French, I suppose, who made boredom fashionable?" No, comes the reply: it was the English. "Ah, so that's it!" says the old army man. "They've always been habitual drunks!"

When it comes to drinking, this country evidently has form. And yet reading yesterday's report from a committee of MPs it is hard not to think that, at least over the short term, things have got a lot worse. In a report that looks at the challenges facing British police, alcohol is listed alongside gun and knife crime as one of the biggest problems. The usual alarming statistics are published - that drink-related crime and crime prevention now costs police over £7bn a year (and costs the NHS more than a £1bn a time) - but the most worrying passage is from a note by Chief Constable Stephen Green of Nottinghamshire. The drinks industry "has stretched policing to the absolute limits", he writes. "The whole focus of officer shift patterns is to deploy sufficient resources at weekends to cope with alcohol-fuelled disorder and football violence .
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Monday, November 10, 2008

Alcohol features in one in six suicides, psychiatrist claims


THE INEXTRICABLE and alarming link between heavy drinking and suicide in Ireland - particularly in the impromptu suicides of young men - has been highlighted at a national conference in Cork.

Dr Jane Marshall, consultant psychiatrist at the Maudsley Hospital, London, said alcohol was implicated in one in six suicides in Ireland, but she believed the rate was much higher than this in reality.

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Retailers attack plans to scrap alcohol offers

By Roger Blitz and Alex Barker

Published: November 11 2008

Supermarkets on Monday made clear they have no intention of scrapping alcohol promotions despite being criticised by MPs for fuelling Britain’s “binge-drinking” culture by selling brands cheaply as loss leaders.

The British Retail Consortium, which represents some of the biggest supermarket chains, including Tesco, Sainsbury and Asda, hit back at MPs on the Commons home affairs select committee, who recommended that they should be banned from selling alcohol at below cost.

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Alcohol may be banned for those below 21
10 Nov 2008, Vikas Bhardwaj, ET Bureau

NEW DELHI: Following the crackdown on smoking, the health ministry is now planning to shift focus to alcohol, with a plan to make 21 years as the

uniform age all over the country for\consumption of alcohol. While most states already have rules prohibiting alcohol consumption by people below 21 years of age, Karnataka, Goa and Uttar Pradesh allow alcohol consumption for those older than 18 years. In Delhi, it is an offence for anyone below 25 years to consume alcohol.

The health ministry’s move is part of the National Policy on Alcohol Control. Through this policy, the ministry also plans to address issues like restriction on hours of sale and density of outlets. For this, it is planning to set up a steering committee at national level involving all stakeholders. The policy is expected to be ready in three months after obtaining suggestions from experts and scientists.

The health minister had earlier said the policy would largely be recommendatory in nature because prohibition is a state subject. “The policy is in the initial stage of formulation. We will involve all stakeholders and form a policy after national consultation which will provide a road map for regulating the sale of alcohol across the country,” a source in the ministry of health said.
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Kerala, No: 1 boozing State: Economic Review

Thiruvananthapuram, Nov 9:
Latest Economic Review presented to the State Assembly said that Kerala leads in per capita consumption of liquor at a whopping 8.3 litres as against four litres in the rest of the country. Despite high literacy and concerted efforts by several religious as well as voluntary organisations against the evil of drinking, Kerala has been emerging as one of the largest consumer of alcohol in the world. The per capita consumption of Indian Made Foreign Liquor (IMFL) by Keralites points to such a disaster.
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Policing in the 21st Century
Seventh Report of Session 2007–08
Volume I
Report, together with formal minutes
Ordered by The House of Commons
to be printed 30 October 2008

The police service is facing the challenge of a gradual yet significant expansion of its responsibilities. Greater clarity is needed as to its core role in the 21st century. Pressure to meet quantitative Home Office targets has often caused officers to prioritise trivial offences. We welcome the Government’s undertaking to replace top-down targets with locally-set priorities, and encourage greater use of officer discretion, backed by more effective supervision.

Public expectations of the police are not being met. The public want the police to be more active in dealing with minor crime and anti-social behaviour. The police should be more visible and more responsive to the public, and should give greater consideration to the needs of the victim in investigating crimes.

A number of functions are putting particular pressure on police resources. Foreign nationals take longer and cost more for police forces to process than British citizens. Rapid immigration has led to funding shortfalls in some force areas. The Government needs to give greater assistance to forces in areas experiencing rapid population change.

We are concerned at the amount of police time spent dealing with alcohol-related crime, with forces now deploying officers for longer periods owing to changes in the licensing laws. We remain unconvinced that Alcohol Disorder Zones will have the desired effect but support the principle of mandatory contributions to policing from alcohol retailers. The practice of loss-leading should be ended and compulsory, enforceable standards for the industry should be introduced.
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Happy hours and cheap alcohol should be banned, say MPs

By Richard Edwards, Crime Correspondent
10 Nov 2008

Happy hour drink promotions should be banned and supermarkets prevented from selling cheap alcohol at a loss to curb the binge-drinking violence blighting Britain, MPs have said.

A damning Home Affairs Select Committee report said that alcohol-related disorder was placing a "heavy burden" on police and diverting officers from fighting serious crime.

Police chiefs blame the Government's decision to relax licensing laws, drinks promotions in pubs and clubs, and the cheap availability of alcohol in supermarkets and off licences, it said.

The report also criticised Whitehall-imposed targets for distorting police priorities, leading them to focus on "trivial misdemeanours" and meaning that forces across the country were "hitting their targets but missing the point".

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